01. CCS - Whole Lotta Love
From ''CCS" in 1970, the debut album from the UK band who were formed by famous bluesman Alexis Korner and his singing partner Peter Thorup, in 1970, together with musicians such as pianist John Cameron, drummers Barry Morgan and Tony Carr, Herbie Flowers (bass), Henry Lowther, Harry Beckett, Kenny Wheeler and Les Condon on trumpets, Don Lusher on trombone, Ronnie Ross on baritone sax, Danny Moss on tenor sax, Ray Warleigh on flute and Harold McNair on woodwinds. Alexis Korner, born on April 19, 1928, of Austrian, Greek and Turkish parentage, formed Blues Incorporated, with harmonica player Cyril Davies, in 1961. (Blues Incorporated, which launched the careers of Ginger Baker, Charlie Watts and John McLaughlin, has since been recognized as the very first white blues band in the world). The group broke up in 1967, but Alexis continued recording and performing, working with musicians such as Robert Plant and Victor Brox. Korner and Thorup then formed New Church in 1969, which in turn evolved into CCS, which stood for "Collective Consciousness Society". They were amongst the first groups to record for Micky Most's new RAK label, and they had a major hit with their version of the Led Zeppelin classic, which reached number 13 on the UK charts. They released three albums and split in 1973, with Korner and Thorup going on to form Snape, with ex-King Crimson musicians Ian Wallace on drums and Boz Burrell on bass. Throat cancer sadly claimed Alexis Korner's life on January 1,1984.
02. Incredible Bongo Band - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Not much info available about this percussion based band, although it would appear that they hailed from Belgium. The track was taken from "Bongo Rock" in 1975, their debut album, which was released in the UK on the DJM Record label. They released a second album, ''Return Of", in 1976, and faded into obscurity. This is a great version of the Iron Butterfly classic. They also do a good version of the Shadows' "Apache".
03. Titanic - Sultana
Norwegian band Titanic, who had an English vocalist called Roy Robinson, were formed in the late 60's. "Sultana", taken from their second album "Sea Wolf", which came out in 1971, was one of their biggest hits. They became very popular in Europe, especially in France, so much so that the band relocated there (a Norwegian band with an English singer, living and based in France!) See the previous write-up on the RockIt Scientist website on this great band, who were also quite popular in a few African countries, where they toured regularly.
04. Rob Lamothe and Craig Erickson - Deep River
Rob Lamothe was the vocalist with The Riverdogs, an excellent US melodic blues rock outfit. Craig Erickson is a respected blues/rock guitarist who has released a number of solo albums, mainly on the Blues Bureau Record label. This collaboration does them both justice. Released on the Provogue Record label, this album is worthwhile checking out just for Lamothe's voice alone. Since the demise of The Riverdogs (which also featured Irish guitarist Vivian Campbell of Dio, Whitesnake, Shadow King and Trinity fame), Rob Lamothe has also been performing under his own name.
05). Sunset Heights - Lost In The Shuffle
From "Born in Houston - Live", released in 1995. This US blues/rock outfit features US guitarist/vocalist Vince Converse, who has also been recording as a soloist for the Mystic Record label. This is a live album of powerful blues rock, with some great guitar from Converse, together with Jason Youngblood on bass and vocals and Little Joe Frenchwood on drums. Thanks to Viv Bannatyne for introducing me to the band.
06). Joe Bonamassa - I Know Where I Belong
Joe Bonamassa, who was one of our most requested musicians on the previous RockIt Scientist's show on SAfm, is one of the finest young guitarists to emerge from the US in many years. Apart from recording a number of fantastic albums, he also featured with Bloodline (Erin Davis, son of Miles Davis, on drums, Berry Oakley Jnr, son of Berry Oakley (no kidding!), of The Allmans fame, on vocals and bass, Lou Segreti on keyboards and Waylon Krieger, son of The Doors' Robbie Krieger, on guitar), back in 1994. This blues/rock guitarist is a talent of note, and he has a great voice to boot! The longevity of the genre can only be greatly enhanced and extended by talent of his calibre. He released his debut solo album, "A New Day Yesterday" (no Popeye badges to those who recognize the Tull flavor!) in 2000, and, in 2002, the excellent "So, It's Like That", with it's bonus live dvd (of the featured album), was released. The track was taken from the CD release of "A New Day Yesterday Live", recorded in December 2001. The album/dvd features Eric Czar on bass and Kenny Kramme on drums. Subsequent releases from "Smokin" Joe Bonamassa include "Blues Deluxe" and ''Had To Cry Today" (ditto the Popeye badge bit for Blind Faith devotees!)
07). Blackhorse - You've Got The Way
A powerful US hard rock trio in the Thunderhead(US)/Bachman Turner Overdrive/Van Halen mould. Their self-titled album, released in 1979, is apparently extremely rare and worth big bucks on the collectors market. Gary James was on guitar and vocals, Paul-Anthony Middleton on bass and vocals (ex-Wally and John Golding Band) and John Teague on drums and vocals.
08). Molly Hatchet - Tatanka
From "Devil's Canyon", in 1996, featuring new vocalist Phil McCormack, who replaced (the now sadly late) Danny Joe Brown. Guitarist Bobby Ingram, who joined the band in 1989, replacing Dave Hlubeck, is the only remaining member from the 80's era Molly Hatchet, although none of the other original members are currently in the band. Ingram owns the rights to the name and has continued the band in the fine Molly Hatchet Southern Rock tradition. (Molly Hatchet was a 17th century Salem lady who beheaded her lovers with an axe after sleeping with them. Talk about giving/getting head!). The band only started recording in 1978, although original guitarists Hlubeck and Steve Holland met way back in 1971, with bassist Banner Thomas joining in 1973, drummer Bruce Crump in 1975 and Danny Joe Brown (ex-Rum Creek) in 1976, together with third guitarist Duane Roland the same year. Their self-titled debut album, released in 1978, reached gold status in the US. Danny Joe Brown recorded one further album (''Flirtin' With Disaster"), in 1979, with the band before leaving to form his own Danny Joe Brown Band (which featured Bobby Ingram!). They featured at the 1979 Reading Festival and went down an absolute storm! Jimmy Farrar, who appeared on "Beatin' The Odds" (1980) and "Take No Prisoners" (1981), was Danny Joe Brown's replacement. Brown then returned and the band continued to tour relentlessly and release excellent albums such as ''No Guts No Glory" (1983), which was the first album to feature keyboard player John Galvin, and "The Deed Is Done" (1984), as well as their excellent double live "Double Trouble Live" album in 1985. Danny Joe Brown, who was plagued with diabetes, left the band again, and between the years 1986 and 1988, no Molly Hatchet recordings were made.
The band then resurfaced in 1989 and released "Lightning Strikes Twice", which was the first album to feature Bobby Ingram, that year. The band was then effectively put on ice (from a recording point of view, in any case). Fast forward to the featured album and the new-look Molly Hatchet, which now featured Ingram, new vocalist Phil McCormack, (during the recording of the album, Brown became seriously ill and suggested that Phil McCormack take over studio and recording responsibilities), John Galvin, Andy McKinney on bass, Mac Crawford on drums and Bryan Bassett (ex Wild Cherry) on guitars. Since "Devil's Canyon", Molly Hatchet have continued to tour prolifically and record albums of a consistently high standard. Other albums worthwhile checking out are "Silent Reign Of Heroes", "Kingdom of XII", the awesome double live ''Locked and Loaded" and their latest studio release "Warriors Of The Rainbow Bridge". A further live album, ''Live at The Agora Ballroom", recorded in April 1979, was released in 2000. Molly Hatchet are an awesome band live on stage and they're very popular in Germany: their brand new (and first, DVD), ''Live in Hamburg", recently released on the SPV label, captures this stunning band in all their glory.
A must-have purchase, and certainly one of the dvd releases of 2005!
09). Black Oak Arkansas - Ace In The Hole
Black Oak Arkansas were formed in Arkansas in the mid 60's, originally as The Knowbody Else. The original members included vocalist James Mangrum, aka Jim Dandy, guitarists Harvey Jett, (later replaced by Jimmy Henderson), Ricky Reynolds and Stan Knight, bassist Pat Daugherty and drummer Wayne Evans (later replaced by Tommy "Dork" Aldridge). The Knowbody Else recorded an unsuccessful album for Stax Records in 1969 (also released as "Early Times" in 1974) before changing their name to Black Oak Arkansas (the name was taken from the town where Jim Dandy was born, on March 30th, 1948). They then signed to Atco Records and released their eponymous album in 1971. The album introduced them to the US charts and they became concert favorites, no doubt aided by the charismatic Jim Dandy, who used to prance around the stage bare-chested and in tight white pants, brandishing a washboard! Dandy aside, the band, with their three guitar attack, were a powerful force on the Southern Rock scene. Later albums included ''Keep The Faith" and "If An Angel Came To See You, Would You Make Her Feel At Home?", both released in 1972. The live "Raunch and Roll - Live" album (which came with a certificate, authorizing the lp holder to be a proud owner of one whole square inch of Black Oak Arkansas land!), was a fitting testimony to a band that must have been great to see live in concert! They later had a minor US hit with "Jim Dandy ", which was released on ''High On The Hog", in 1973 (the track also featured singer Ruby Starr). They released two further albums for Atco Records ("Street Party" in 1974 and ''Ain't Life Grand" the following year) before moving over to MCA Records. The featured album, "X-Rated", released in 1975, was the first for MCA, and it was undoubtedly one of their best ever albums. 1976's "Live Mutha!" album saw them return to Atco Records, returning again to MCA for albums such as "Balls Of Fire" and ''10 Year Overnight Success".
By the end of 1977, only Jim Dandy remained of the original line-up. Black Oak Arkansas were now signed to Capricorn Records and two albums "Race With The Devil" (featuring a great version of the Gun classic!) and ''I'd Rather Be Sailing", were released in 1977 and 1978 respectively. Joining Jim Dandy on these two albums were guitarists Greg Redding and Jack Holder (the later becoming a founder-member of the brilliant but sadly short-lived Cobra, featured on The RockIt Scientist recently), bassist Andy Tanas and drummer Joel Williams (BOA drummer Tommy Aldridge went on to find fame and fortune as the powerhouse behind Ozzy Osbourne's band). The band then folded, with Jim Dandy resurfacing with a solo album called "Ready As Hell" in 1984, and a further album called "The Black Attack Is Back" in 1986, both with guitarist Ricky Reynolds as the only other original BOA member. Subsequent releases were few and far between, although an album called "Rebound", with most of the tracks written by Reynolds, was released in 1991. A King Biscuit Flower Hour live album, recorded in England at the 1976 Reading Festival, was released in 1998, and then, the following year, a new Black Oak Album, "The Wild Bunch", featuring Jim Dandy, Ricky Reynolds, Pat Dougherty, sensational new guitarist Rocky Athas and Tommy Bolin's brother, Johnnie, on drums, was released. BOA were certainly back - this new album was a great comeback from one of Southern Rock's most endearing bands that seemed to die a death and then be miraculously reborn! Indeed, Jim Dandy states on the cover that "The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated!" Since 1999, though, no new (known) recordings have surfaced from the band (or from Jim Dandy).
10). Point Blank - Walk Across The Fire
A very good US melodic/hard rock band who were formed in the mid 70's. Their first few albums (''Point Blank'' in 1976 and ''Second Season" in 1977), were produced by Bill Hamm of ZZ Top fame. The initial line-up was John O'Daniel on vocals (later replaced by Bubba Keith), Pete Gruen on drums, Rusty Burns and Kim Davis on guitars and vocals, and Phil Petty on bass. Their first few albums were excellent, although their style became decidedly more radio friendly with each new release. They were still an excellent band, though, and albums such as "Airplay" (1979) and ''The Hard Way" (1980) are certainly also worthwhile checking out, as is "American Excess" (1981), from which the featured track was taken.
11). Host - Fattig Men Fri
One of Norway's best bands, and the only important Norwegian progressive rock outfit of the 70's to sing in their native tongue. They were formed in the early 70's, in the Ostfold area, roughly situated between Oslo and the Swedish border. They were strongly influenced by bands such as Life and November. Their debut album, "Pa Sterke Vinger", from which the featured track was taken, was released in 1974, and it featured Geir Jahren on vocals, Svein Ronning on guitar and keyboards (replaced by Halvdan Nedrejord), Lasse Nilsen on guitars(replaced by Fezza Ellingsen), Bernt Bodahl on bass and Knut Lie (replaced by Willy Bendiksen) on drums. Host released a second album, ''Hardt Mot Hardt" in 1976 before changing their name to Ice Band, but they split for good in 1978. A third album, called "Live & Unreleased", was released in the 90's.
12). Jane - Waterfall
German rock outfit Jane were formed in Hannover in the late 60's, evolving out of a band called Justice Of Peace, aka the JP's. They changed their name to Jane and were one of the first of the new breed of progressive bands to emerge from Germany. The initial line-up included vocalist Bernd Pulst, drummer Peter Panka, guitarist Klaus Hess, bassist Charly Maucher and keyboard player Werner Nadolny. Their debut album, "Together", released on the prestigious Brain label, emerged in 1971. It was a very potent album, with trippy, bluesy parts not very different to early Frumpy. Aimed primarily at the UK and US markets, the band's lyrics were in English. Pulst departed during the early part of 1973. A second guitarist, Wolfgang Krantz, was added, and Peter Panka took over vocal duties. The band then released their second album, "Here We Are", in 1973, from which the featured track was taken. The same line-up released "Jane 3" in 1974, and, in 1975, released "Lady", with new members Gottfried Janko on keyboards and Martin Hesse on bass. Jane's conceptual album, ''Fire, Water, Earth & Air", released in 1976, featured yet another keyboard player in Werner Nadolny. This was an album of many contrasts and it demonstrated the versatility of this famous band. Exit Nadolny and enter new keyboard player Manfred Wieczorke: their "Live At Home" double live album, released in 1976, was brilliant. Two further albums, "Between Heaven and Hell" (1977) and ''Age Of Madness" (1978) were also good, but from then on, Jane became a straight ahead rock band, similar in style to many other bands. Their "Sign No. 9" album, released in 1979, was a great disappointment, although it did have its moments. Other albums such as "Jane" (1980), "Germania" (1982) and "Beautiful Lady" (1986) all had merit, but were a far cry from the Jane that set the standards for other Krautrock bands to follow. A further live album, "Live 89" was released, but Jane was then put on ice for a while. The band has undergone many line-up changes, but drummer Peter Panka has kept the band alive to this day, releasing albums such as "Peter Panka's Jane: Resurrection", ''Genuine", ''Live 2000'' and ''Shine On". Like Birth Control, they're one of the oldest and longest surviving of the "Kraut Rock" bands. They recently appeared on a double dvd called "Krautrock Meeting", together with Karthago, Epitaph, Amon Duul 2, Birth Control and Guru Guru.
13). East - Far Away With The Clouds
From "Jatekok" ('Games'), the debut album, released in 1981, from this excellent Hungarian band who were formed in 1980. Similar in style to Camel, Genesis and Yes, their first three albums are worthwhile checking out, although they became progressively more and more commercial. The initial line-up that appeared on the featured album was Janos Varga on guitar (he's also featured with a number of other artists and has also formed the brilliant Janos Varga Project), Peter Moczan on bass, Istvan Kiraly on drums, Miklos Zareczky on vocals and Geza Palvolgyi on synthesizers. East are, together with Solaris, Lokomotiv GT and Omega, amongst Hungary's best bands. They released about 8 albums.
14). Roine Stolt - The Observer
From ''Wall Street Voodoo", the brand new album from the Flowerkings and Kaipa guitarist vocals. He goes back to his 70's roots on this album and the results are fantastic! This is one of his best solo albums to date and it's highly recommended. The album features Neal Morse (Spock's Beard), Marcus Lillequist, Slim Pothead, Victor Woof and others and it was recently released on InsideOut Records.
15). Presto Ballet - Speed Of Time
A very good progressive metal outfit featuring ex-Metal Church guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof, Brian Cokeley on keyboards, Jeff Wade on drums, Brian Lake on bass and Scott Albright on lead vocals and acoustic guitar. Nice stuff from a band with much potential. The album, "Peace Among The Ruins", was released on InsideOut Records earlier this year.
16. Pallas - The Bringer Of Dreams
From "The Dreams Of Men", brand new album, once again on InsideOut Records, from one of Scotland's best prog outfits. They started out in the 80's and are still around today, although they did split in the mid to late 80's before reforming in the 90's. One of their best albums to date, still featuring Ronnie Brown (keyboards), Alan Reed (vocals), Graeme Murray (bass), Colin Fraser (drums) and Niall Mathewson (guitars). Pallas are a class act that get better and better with each new release. (See an earlier write-up on the band, on The RockIt Scientist website)
17). Tony Joe White - Feeling Snakey
The Swamp Fox, as he's known, started recording in the late sixties. Prior to recording as a soloist in 1968, his earliest bands were Tony and The Mojos and Tony and The Twilights. One of his best known tracks was ''Polk Salad Annie", which appeared on "Black and White", his debut album for Monument Records. The track was also covered by Elvis Presley. He released two further albums for Monument ("Continued", in 1969, and "Tony Joe", in 1970), before moving over to Warner Brothers Records in 1971. "Steamy Windows", which he wrote for Tina Turner, was a top 20 hit for her in the UK in 1990. Tony Joe has it all: he's a great vocalist, a fantastic guitarist and harmonica player, and his songwriting is out of the top drawer. He's released about 20 albums to date, the featured track being taken from "Snakey", released in 2002. Joining the Swamp Fox are Steve ''Little Troll" Forrest on bass, Carson "Dr. Gloom" Whitsett on keyboards and Marc ''Boom Boom'' Cohen on drums. His latest album, ''The Heroines", came out about a year a go. He ain't lost none of his talent - he is STILL one of the greats! Other albums worthwhile checking out are "Eyes" (1977), "The Path of a Decent Groove" (1993) and "Lake Placid Blues" (1995), although earlier albums like "Home Made Ice Cream" (1973) and "Roosevelt and Ira Lee" (1984), also deserve a mention and listen.
18). Stevie Ray Vaughan - Pride and Joy
From "Texas Flood", in 1983, the debut album from one of the best known and most loved blues guitarists of all time. Born in Dallas, Texas, on 3 October 1954, he was influenced by his older brother, Jimmie, of The Fabulous Thunderbirds fame, and he featured with early 70's bands such as "The Nightcrawlers", "Paul Rey and The Cobras" and "Triple Treat Revue". Blues great such as Lonnie Mack, Otis Rush and Albert King were also great influences in the young Stevie Ray's life. He was spotted by David Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival, who hired him for his forthcoming "Let's Dance" album, but Stevie Ray subsequently turned down Bowie's future world tour in order for him to record and complete "Texas Flood". The album featured ex-Johnny Winter bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, who were collectively known as Double Trouble. Double Trouble were originally fronted by singer Lou Ann Barton, who was in Triple Treat Revue with Stevie Ray. Later albums such as "Couldn't Stand The Weather", "Soul To Soul", "Live Alive" and "In Step" were all brilliant releases from one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time. During his short lifetime, he won many accolades from all over the world, including two Grammy Awards, and he also featured on albums by Lonnie Mack, James Brown and Johnny Copeland. He was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on 27 August 1990. The new breed of young guitarists such as Dan Patlansky, Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd have ensured that Stevie Ray's legacy will continue.
19). Indigenous - Holdin' Out
A very good native American Indian family group, led by guitarist/vocalist Mato Nanji. He's an excellent player, very much in the Stevie Ray Vaughan/Pat Travers mould. Pte was on bass and vocals, Wanbdi on drums and Horse on percussion. The track was from "Live at Pachyderm Studio 1998". They've issued about five albums to date, and a live dvd has also been released. If blues/rock fires your jets, you need to discover Indigenous - they're brilliant!
Live at Pachyderm Studio 1998 is available to download as legal mp3s at subscription website, eMusic.com.
20). Audience - House On The Hill
UK outfit Audience existed in the late sixties/early seventies, having been formed in London. They released four albums, the ultra rare ''Audience" in 1969, "Friend's Friend's Friend" in 1970, "Lunch" in 1971 and the final album, "House On The Hill", in 1972. They also performed the score for the movie "Bronco Bullfrog", which has recently been released on CD. The original line-up included Keith Gemmell on woodwinds, Trevor Williams on bass, keyboards and vocals, Howard Werth on guitar and vocals and Tony Connor on drums. Werth's unusual and unique voice was undoubtedly one of the band's trademarks, although their songwriting was equally memorable. When Audience split in 1972, Howard Werth later formed Howard Werth and The Moonbeams after spending a short time with The Doors, Keith Gemmell joined Stackridge and later the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Tony Connor joined Hot Chocolate and Trevor Williams worked with The Nashville Teens. They recently reformed and recorded this live album, ''Alive&kickin'&screamin'&shoutin" in December of 2004, with original members Werth, Gemmell and Williams, together with new drummer, John Fisher, previously with The Blue Bishops. Time has certainly been kind to this legendary band - they're sounding as good as they ever did, albeit more polished, and rumour has it that we could soon be blessed with an album of new Audience material!
21). Gravy Train - Messenger
Taken from "Ballad Of a Peaceful Man" in 1971, their second, and last to be released on the collectible Vertigo label. Arguably one of the best bands on the label, Gravy Train, who hailed from Manchester in England, were formed in March 1969. The original line-up was comprised of guitarist/vocalist Norman Barrett, (who, for a short while, replaced Jimmy Page in Screaming Lord Sutch's "Heavy Friends"), drummer Barry Davenport, bassist Les Williams and flute/alto/tenor sax player J.D. Hughes. Their self-titled debut album was released on Vertigo in 1970. Sometimes wrongly classified as a folk/rock outfit, Gravy Train were, however, very good at mixing powerful, trippy hard rock with moody, acoustic pieces. Their ballads/slower numbers were excellent - just check out "Alone In Georgia" on the featured album or the title track to their final album, "Staircase To The Day". Disillusioned due to the lack of commercial success after the release of "Ballad Of a Peaceful Man", they moved to Dawn Records in 1973 and released "Second Birth" (which, it has to be said, was probably their weakest album, although it did have its moments). The aforementioned "Staircase To The Day", their swansong, was probably their best album. Joined by keyboard player Peter Solley (of Snafu and Paladin fame), guitarist George Lynon and violinist/synthesizer player Mary Zinovieff, Gravy Train were really sounding good around the time of this album (1974), but fame continued to elude them and the band split in 1974, with Barrett joining Mandalaband before becoming a Christian, playing Christian rock music. British progressive rock music wouldn't be quite as revered as it is if Gravy Train weren't part of the scene.
22). Diabolus - 1002 Nights
From their sole, self-titled album. released in 1972. A British band, although, like Nektar and Message, they based themselves in Germany and signed to Bellaphon Records. The line-up of John Hadfield (guitar/vocals), Anthony Hadfield (bass/vocals), Philip Howard (flute/tenor sax/keyboards/vocals) and German drummer Ellwood Von Siebold, collectively had fantastic potential, but the band faded into obscurity shortly after the album was released. Musically, they were similar in style to Jethro Tull, Gravy Train and Gnidrolog, with some stunning folky parts. One of prog rock's lost gems, that's for sure - even the CD release (on Witch & Warlock - "CD's For The Chosen Few!") is pretty rare!